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ColdFusion Still Alive?

July 16, 2004

Gadgetopia notes BlueDragon’s recent release of CFML (ColdFusion Markup Language) support for the .NET framework and remarks that ColdFusion just refuses to die.

Well, there’s a reason for that—several even…


I’ve been writing ColdFusion since around 1996 – 1997 or so… Far enough back I can’t remember exactly (they say memory’s the second thing to go—I figure the first is either the hard drive or the power supply).  I still write it today, in addition to PHP, ASP, Perl, and whatever else happens to be handy.

I’d rather write in ColdFusion however.  In fact, I’d rather write in it bad enough that when a client has a preference of scripting languages, I’ll often quote him a price for his project in the language of his choice, and another (lower) quote for doing it in ColdFusion.  The reason why is maturity of the environment—I find that ColdFusion is enough faster for me to script and (especially) debug that it takes me less time.  So I quote a lower price.  Not surprisingly, quite a few customers aren’t as stuck on their choice of scripting languages when that happens.

I’ll admit that I had some doubts when Macromedia bought out Allaire.  First, they killed my favorite editor, ColdFusion Studio, and stuck us with DreamWeaver (which I ultimately came to live with, and has even brought me a little business, in the form of clients wanting DreamWeaver templates).  Then they came out with the half-assed update that was ColdFusion 5, and worst, the nightmare that was ColdFusion MX.  Like a lot of folks, I didn’t even consider moving production sites from 4.5 or 5 for a very long time.

Then some good things happened.  ColdFusion MX 6.1, for starters — faster, cleaner, more stable, and best of all, it was a reasonable port from previous versions.  In fact, just the other day, I moved a fairly large web app that was originally written in 3.11 (clear back around 1997 or 1998) to MX 6.1, with every few problems.  The only piece that didn’t just work was a freeware image handling extension I’d used.  A little google-digging found an updated MX compatible version, and the app was up and running a few minutes later—and running quite noticably faster than it did in 4.5, I might add.  I’ve moved several other large web apps over the past few months, with similar experiences.

New Atlanta’s BlueDragon is another great thing, and it’s relaxed my concerns about Macromedia considerably—those concerns being mostly that Macromedia doesn’t appear to have much commitment to ColdFusion other than as a vehicle to ship more Flash related stuff. 

BlueDragon is a CFML processor that runs on a variety of platforms, in addition to the Java Server platform supported by Macromedia.  This means that even if Macromedia decides to make another abrupt change in direction (something that’s not unknown to them) and dump ColdFusion altogether, someone out there is still supporting it as a going concern.

Even better, the base version of BlueDragon is available for free, which eliminates one of the other objections that has plagued ColdFusion projects from day one—that being that the ColdFusion Server actually costs money, instead of being “free” (“free” as in Open Source, with PHP, “free” as in “you’ve already paid for it” with Microsoft’s ASP/.NET.) The fact that the cost of licensing ColdFusion is usually one of the smallest costs in development of a web app of any significance never seems to stop this from being a commonly heard objection, and having BlueDragon as an alternative is a handy way to deal with it.

ColdFusion dead?  Nah, far from it… Give it a try sometime, and you just might get hooked too.

Related: Converting from ColdFusion 5 to ColdFusion MX

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